Most of the farm animals that include horses, cows, sheep, and even goats exhibit grazing and browsing behavior due to their rising dietary needs. A ranch that is developed with the right kind of trees and other palatable crops is a farm that is well advantaged. The farmer through available feed resources will enrich the herd with sufficient minerals for peak production in a cost effective manner. Some of the plants to consider for the best performance of your herd include,
1. Lucerne tree
It is also known as the Tagasaste or the Boom Lusern. It is easy to plant and grows very fast compared to other similar trees.
It can acquire a height of 6m in an average of six years. It is ever green and it will also act as a source of nitrogen fixer to the soil. It can be pruned after 50 days and it is highly nutritious. It can be fed to cattle, sheep, horses, or even goats. Note that cows should not be fed more than 30% of legumes in their total feed to avoid bloating.
2. Gliricidia septum
This is a common fodder tree found in the tropics. A ranch can have sub-divided paddocks of half an acre that are separated by fences and gates. The plant can be grown in a linear manner on the sides of the paddock or in any favorable manner. The species regenerates easily and is quite nutritive.
Gliricidia can be grown from seeds or stem cuttings. The stem cuttings used are from plants that are more than 8 months old to have the best growth. This kind of plant is mostly preferred by goats and sheep. The dried plant can also be feed to cows.
3. Chicory or Plantain
These are productive species of plants that are ideal for grazing cows, goats or deer. The plants contain good minerals that are vital and the plants do not prove to stink in milk that is harvested. Some of the minerals that the two plants have are copper, selenium, and cobalt.
4. Cajanus cajan
This plant is commonly known as the pigeon pea. It can grow in most climatic conditions and it produces lots of valuable forage. It is planted by use of seeds and it can be mixed with other grain such as sorghum or millet when planting. The leaves, flowers, and pods are consumed by all farm animals. However, we should avoid excessive feeding of leguminous crops to cows to avoid bloating.
The populous spp is a common plant and it can grow in the same conditions as willows. The plant is deciduous and provides much foliage in summer and spring. A farmer can start grazing after two years of planting. The average yield is estimated to be 5 tons of dry matter per year on the first year and it will increase up to seven tonnes in the third year.
6. Honey locust
The Honey locust is a frost tolerant crop that produces lots of pods with up to 16% protein. The plant only requires 500mm of rainfall per year and it is relatively easy to grow. It can produce up to 50 tons of dry matter per hectare within 3 or 4 years.
7. Carob tree
It is known as the Ceratonia Siliqua in scientific terms. It is ideal for producing pods that can be comfortably devoured by cows of all age. It can grow up to 10 m long and several hundred in a big ranch can do no harm.